Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day Two

Echo Bay, Ontario to Thunder Bay, Ontario
Today's km: 764.6 Total km: 1504

When I woke up this morning, Carol cooked me a fantastic breakfast and relayed the fact that the home I had slept in was, without a word of a lie, built on an ancient burial ground. She had some elders from the local reserve in to do a tobacco blessing, which she now does herself regularly.

After I signed her guest book (which was the "Gratitude Journal" by the makers of The Secret, I was off.

The Canadian Shield is a spectacularly pleasant backdrop for a long journey and between the view and the rest of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, it was another easy driving day. My GPS originally estimated the trip at just under eleven hours. I made it comfortably in eight, winding through the rocks and trees, covered with a light dusting of pure, white snow.


Not long after I was through the Sault, I started to see signs proclaiming "last fuel for 200km, up ahead". I was still at three quarters of a tank, but you can never be too careful, especially in the North. I pulled in a gravel drive and stopped next to a great big gas tank with old-fashioned pumps on either end. They were locked in place, so I waited for an employee to wander over to me. I knew I was very close to a number of native reserves, so I wasn't at all surprised when I was greeted by a gentleman wearing mukluks and a hunting jacket. What surprised me, however, was the raging cockney accent that spewed forth when he opened his mouth. He was good fun.

I think Hula was a little out of her element.

Two hundred kilometres later, as promised, I drove through the town of Wawa. Their thing is giant geese. I'm really not sure why.

Why not, I suppose?

The snow got a little thicker as I continued winding north, but I quickly made it to Thunder Bay and had no trouble finding my next B & B, conveniently located in downtown TBay. While last night's host was all dream journals and crystal healing, this little old English dude runs this place with military efficiency. He is not fucking around with the business of bed and breakfast. He welcomed me at the door, offered me some slippers and immediately had me "sign in", which meant providing contact info on a little pre-printed slip of paper. He gave me a brief but effective tour (including photos of his business partner beside various stars of Coronation Street throughout the ages), instructed me to bolt the door on my way in or our, turn off any lights I turn on and proceeded to take my breakfast order in an efficient manner. He then told me how to get a hold of him if I needed him and politely excused himself off to his quarters, wherever they may be.

Left to my own devices fairly early, I had a quick dinner in a properly old-people restaurant and spent the rest of the evening making friends with a native girl at a black jack table at the casino. At one point, I had turned my twenty into sixty-five dollars, and then spent another hour losing it all. I'm a terrible gambler.

I'm now tucked away comfortably in a bedroom that would not have been out of place in my Nan's old house in the eighties. I shut the orange velvet curtains (oh yes) and will try and get a decent night's sleep since tomorrow is my heaviest driving day, and I'm actually a little afraid of being late for breakfast.

You thought I was kidding about the orange velvet, didn't you?

(Note: Edited to include photos)

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